News From NEODBA
Northeast Ohio DeafBlind Association
Angela C. Orlando, President
August 1st, 2013
In this issue:
1. Upcoming Event: Summer Campout
2. Our trip to Cedar Point
4. Health-Bridges Accommodation Card
5. Announcement: SocialEyes
6. Announcement: Keysoft 9.3
7. Article: Student Reads with Lips
8. Contact Us
Upcoming Event: Summer Campout
Celebrate Summer at NEODBA's first "backyard" campout. We hope
you can make it on August 17th and 18th for a fun-filled camping
experience. It's fine if you need to arrive late, leave early or
only stay for part of the day.
This event is open to ANYONE with combined hearing and vision
loss, SSP's, volunteers ASL students, friends and family. It's a
great opportunity for students and new SSP's who are seeking more
experience. Children are welcome but must be supervised by a
parent or guardian.
Activities will include: over night campout Hiking Exploring
nature through touch and smell Crafts Soap-making Old shoe
toss Corn Hole with a target board Marshmallow cross-bow with
target guide Clothesline game Hot potato Hot potato with
water balloons Tactile chess, checkers, Uno Tactile art board
Make your own first-aid kit Campfire S'mores
For extra special fun, take a ride on a three-wheeled motorcycle
known as a "trike."
Two Kent State journalism students will be covering our campout.
Want to be a YouTube star? Here's your chance... And help educate
the public about people with dual sensory loss.
Saturday, August 17th
arrive between 10:00 AM to Noon
Sunday, August 18th
depart at Noon
Judy Knisely's residence
Cost: Absolutely FREE!
includes 3 meals
If you have your own tent or camper, please bring it. If not, we
will provide this for you.
Each camper must bring his/her own sleeping bag, pillow and
There will be no water or electrical hook-up at the camp site. We
will be able to use the bathroom inside the house.
RSVP by August 10th, 2013. If you need help with transportation,
we need to know as soon as possible.
To RSVP or for more information contact:
Our Trip to Cedar Point
On Saturday, July 13th, NEODBA members and volunteers enjoyed a
hot and crazy day at Cedar Point. We had wild riders, medium
thrill seekers and a chicken (me!). Our group consisted of four
individuals who are DeafBlind, four SSP's, and four children.
Special thanks to our volunteers: Kara Bull, Colleen O'connor,
Allan Paytosh and Ann Popplestone.
** Can you help? NEODBA is looking for a volunteer to make
visually appealing flyers for our events. These flyers do not
have to be fancy but should include some graphics, colors or
special fonts to make them stand out on a bulletin board. Please
contact us if you are interested. Thank you.
** On Wednesday, July 25th, I participated in a video to help
promote fundraising for Greenleaf Family Center and Akron
Community Services for the Deaf. By doing so, I had the
opportunity to spread awareness about the needs and capabilities
of people with both hearing and vision loss. I also spoke about
the need for SSP services in the NE Ohio area.
** This is great news for Bookshare members -- "Deaf-Blind
Reality: Living the Life" by Scott M. Stoffel has been added to
the collection. Look for it at www.bookkshare.org
** Are you on Facebook? Here are some groups and pages that
might interest you. Search for the name as it appears below:
American Association of the Deaf-Blind
Deaf Outreach Church
Deaf-blind Camp of Maryland
Deaf-Blind with Special Needs
National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness
Ohio Association of the Deaf-Blind
Oregon Deaf-Blind Project
If you know of other contacts, please let us know. You can email
me or share on NEODBA's Facebook page.
Health-Bridges Accommodation Card
Download a card that lists your preferred accommodations
People who are Deaf, DeafBlind or Hard of Hearing often do not
get their requests granted when they ask for a specific
accommodation such as an interpreter at a doctor's office or
You can download a card from the HealthBridges website for
yourself that lists the
accommodations you need to have a good health
Note: This software is compatible with Jaws, ZoomText and other
GW Micro, Inc. Announces SocialEyes
Fort Wayne, Indiana (July 3, 2013) - GW Micro, Inc.
(www.gwmicro.com) is proud to announce SocialEyes, an application
for Windows-based PCs that provides access to Facebook via a
consistent, keyboard friendly and fully accessible user
While Facebook is committed to enhancing the accessibility of the
Facebook website, screen reader users often find navigating the
default interface overwhelming and cumbersome. Using standard and
common controls, SocialEyes brings a fresh, streamlined and easy
to use interface to the Facebook social networking platform.
SocialEyes offers Facebook users the ability to access their
newsfeed, read comments, create comments, like posts, search for
events, pages, friends, groups, and more. Users can also read
notifications, messages, chat with their friends, write on
timelines, manage friend requests, and access event information.
SocialEyes even has the ability to attach links, photos, or video
to status updates.
SocialEyes also provides additional features, such as custom
notification sounds, and message filtering, all designed to help
you stay in touch with all of your Facebook friends.
SocialEyes is compatible with Window-Eyes and other popular
Low vision users may also benefit from SocialEyes by using it
with a screen magnifier, such as ZoomText.
A SocialEyes annual subscription can be purchased for $50, but
for a limited time, you can get an annual subscription for only
$25. SocialEyes will be made available for purchase soon, and
pre-orders are now being accepted by GW Micro. You can pre-order
SocialEyes today by calling GW Micro at (260) 489-3671.
To learn more about SocialEyes, please check out the Introduction
to SocialEyes video tutorial. The video can be accessed from GW
Micro's YouTube channel: http://youtu.be/ULm6DW4zAmw and can also
be downloaded from the GW Micro website:
transcript is also available at:
GW Micro, Inc.
725 Airport North Office Park
Fort Wayne, IN 46825
Announcement: Keysoft 9.3
KeySoft 9.3 is ready for Download!
July 23, 2013 - HumanWare has spent more than ten years of
continuous development on the KeySoft Suite for its BrailleNote
family of products, providing BrailleNote users the most direct
access to braille content. Whether writing notes, reading a book,
an assignment or document in braille, the BrailleNote continues
to make your daily tasks as simple as possible. Our commitment
continues today with the release of KeySoft 9.3 for the
BrailleNote and VoiceNote Apex.
Now DOCX documents saved in Microsoft Word 2007 or later can be
opened and read using your BrailleNote Apex. What's more, unlike
other similar portable devices, KeySoft will not strip out the
primary formatting of a document, allowing you to understand how
the document is laid out. View such formatting as heading styles,
tables, footnotes and endnotes , and page alignment changes using
both speech and Braille. Either view the document in KeyWeb using
familiar navigation keystrokes or, alternatively, you can obtain
a simplified version of the DOCX file in KeyWord for editing.
Improved Web Browsing Experience
KeyWeb has been optimized to eliminate some of the frustrations
that have been reported by users of mobile devices. Some of the
changes you will immediately notice are:
Elimination of security alerts on sites: In the past certain web
content required repeated acceptance of a security alert message,
causing delays in the browsing experience. With KeySoft 9.3's
KeyWeb enhancements, these security messages are a thing of the
past! Access to www.bookshare.org has been optimized for books to
be downloaded more efficiently with the elimination of these
security messages. Downloading of National Library Service (NLS)
digital talking or Braille books: Now with KeySoft 9.3, these
books can be directly downloaded using your BrailleNote or
VoiceNote Apex. Improvement of webpage layout: In the past, some
web content was bypassed when reading a webpage in KeyWeb.
KeySoft 9.3 improves webpage rendering making more webpage
content available to you. Some of your everyday websites that you
will immediately see improved because of this change are
Facebook, Gmail, and Amazon.com.
VoiceNote Keyboard Control over Connected Devices:
If you are a VoiceNote Apex user, you can now utilize your
VoiceNote's Braille or QWERTY keyboards to control connected
devices. Similar to Braille Terminal Mode on the BrailleNote
Apex, VoiceNote users can now select the terminal option from the
Main Menu, and use its keyboard to input text into an iPhone or
iPad rather than using the lengthy process of using the touch
screen. Alternatively, if you are a fast braillist, you may find
it beneficial to use the VoiceNote's braille keyboard to create
and edit documents on your computer.
View some audio and video demonstrations of the new features
found in KeySoft 9.3.
What are you waiting for? It's free, download KeySoft 9.3
for your BrailleNote or VoiceNote Apex.
If you do not already own a BrailleNote or VoiceNote Apex,
learn about HumanWare's attractive trade in program.
Please contact your regional HumanWare office in the USA,
Canada, UK, and Australia for more information.
Enjoy using KeySoft 9.3!
The HumanWare Team
To keep up to date with the BrailleNote family of products, sign
up for the Newswire at:
Please contact HumanWare for more information:
Toll free: 1-800-722-3393
Toll free: 1-888-723-7273
Tel: +61 2 9686 2600
Tel: +44 1933 415 800
This message was sent to firstname.lastname@example.org on July 23, 2013.
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Article: Blind Student Reads with Lips
By Alexis Lai, CNN
July 17, 3013
Hong Kong (CNN) -- Tsang Tsz-Kwan may look like an average
student in Hong Kong with her standard-issue blue shift dress
with a Chinese collar and sensible black shoes. But her ordinary
appearance and shy manner mask a steely determination to triumph
over tremendous odds.
She recently scored within the top 5% for nearly all her
subjects in the city's college entrance examination -- despite
being blind and severely hearing-impaired from a young age. She
also lacks sensitivity in her fingertips, which denies her the
ability to feel the raised dots of Braille characters.
Rather than admit defeat, the 20 year old found an alternative
way to read Braille -- with her lips.
"In Primary 1 (the equivalent of Grade 1 in the United States),
I noticed that she was always leaning forward," said Mee-Lin
Chiu, a teacher at the Ebenezer School and Home for the Visually
Impaired -- the only special needs school in Hong Kong dedicated
to the blind.
"She told me it was because she could read more clearly with her
lips than her hands."
Tsang herself admitted: "I know it's not a common approach and
it sounds rather strange. Even I myself don't know how it came
about," she added, calling it "miraculous."
In actual fact, the lips, tongue, and fingertips are
particularly adept at spatial discrimination - they can perceive
two points that are only 1-3 millimeters apart, according to the
classic anatomy text, Field's Anatomy, Palpation and Surface
Markings. In comparison, the legs or back of the hands can only
detect two points with a separation of more than 50-100
While Tsang may not be the very first person to resort to
lip-reading Braille, she appears to be a rare case. "This is the
first I have heard of someone being successful using the lips,"
said Diane Wormsely, a professor at North Carolina Central
University who specializes in education for the visually
impaired. Chiu also sai that Tsang was the only student at
Ebenezer to have used their lip -- and is the sole case she is
aware of in Hong Kong.
Lip-reading Braille is not without its challenges, however.
"Nobody could accept it in the beginning," Tsang said. "Even
now, many people find it odd ... It's caused some embarrassment
when I read in public places and in front of people that I don't
have a close relationship with."
It also poses practical problems, as Braille books are typically
large and heavy.
Nonetheless, Tsang said she is "grateful" to still have a way to
learn about the world through the written word. Reading is one of
her favorite past times -- a source of intellectual stimulation
and psychological refuge.
She also believes she can transcend her disabilities through
hard work, determination, and the willingness to push herself
outside of her comfort zone.
"Without the courage to challenge myself, there is surely no
possibility of success," she said.
At Ebenezer, her classes were comprised of only ten students,
whose shared disability enabled them to easily build close
friendships. All materials were prepared in Braille and teachers
were specially trained to work with the blind.
But in Form 1 (the equivalent of Grade 7 in the United States),
Tsang decided to leave the comfort of Ebenezer and move to a
regular secondary school, wanting to immerse herself in a more
authentic, mainstream environment. "I have to facilitate my
adaptation to society when I finish my studies and have to enter
the workplace," she said.
Her transition to the city's Ying Wa Girls' School was not
always easy. Classes were much larger and teachers did not have
specialized training to work with blind students. Tsang had to
send all printed materials to Ebenezer or the Hong Kong Society
for the Blind for transcription into Braille. Reading and writing
took her twice th amount of time it did for her peers, she said.
She learned she had to be more independent and make a greater
effort to express her feelings and needs with staff and students
who were welcoming but unaccustomed to dealing with a blind
One of her teachers, Kwong Ho-Ka, said that staff learned over
time when to intervene to help her.
"If she needs something, she will let us know," Kwong said,
adding that her fiercely independent student walked around the
school campus unassisted, eschewing a walking stick and elevators
and taking the stairs by herself.
Kwong, who clearly holds deep affection for her student, said
that while Tsang was never bullied, social integration has been a
"She has friends, but she's not part of some big group. For
example, a gaggle of girls may be chatting about pop culture, but
it can be difficult for her to enter the conversation. She may
not recognize who is speaking in overlapping conversations and
she lacks familiarity with pop culture."
Attending class with the same cohort of students over the past
three years has helped a lot, Kwong said, and students have
learned to make an effort to include Tsang in conversations.
Tsang said that she has made close friends. "I am grateful for
their acceptance of me as a normal member of their social circle
and throughout these years, they have given me a great deal of
support and encouragement."
While her academic feats -- she scored 5**, the highest possible
grade, for Chinese, English, and Liberal Studies, 5* for Chinese
Literature and English Literature and 4 for Math - have won her
much acclaim in Hong Kong, Tsang admits that she surprised
"I was really astonished and excited when I heard that my
results in some of the subjects were far from my expectations,"
she said. "I felt my hard work this year has finally paid off."
She hopes to study translation at university starting this fall
to have a "balanced development in both Chinese and English."
"Whenever I come across some thought-provoking and touching
really wish I could translate them into different languages so
as to share them with more readers," she added.
As she embarks on the new phase of her hard-won education, Tsang
maintains matter-of-fact and philosophical. "The inconveniences
and limitations (my impairments) bring will follow me my whole
life ...and I must have the courage to face the fact... I'm going
to treasure what I still have."
"I would like to encourage everyone to have the courage and
perseverance to go through all the ups and downs in our lives
because I know everyone has their own difficulties. But one thing
is for sure: where there's a will, there's a way."
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